What is the Big Six?
The Big Six is an over-the-top time management tool for those of us who tend to jump from one thing to another, possibly accomplishing little.
Andrew Carnegie hired a consultant to make the business more prosperous. One idea in particular that the consultant taught him, he was never billed for. When he realized he was never billed for the idea, he told the consultant. The man said, “why don’t you just pay me for what you thought it was worth.
Guess How Much He paid the Consultant
Carnegie set him a check for $20,000. Could this be true and who was the consultant? I’ve first heard this story at a Robert Allen Millionaire Conference many years ago. As I research it today, I find that the credit is given to a man named Frederick Taylor. The timeframe was 1890 and the place: a cocktail party in Pittsburgh.
“Young man, said Carnegie, squinting dubiously at the consultant. “if you can tell me something about management that is worth hearing, I will send you a check for $10,000.” Which one is the correct version? I do not know. I do know that even $10,000 was a great amount of money in 1890. Possibly the real strategy involved the bigger picture of big range goals for a business, while the Big Six I learned was adapted for daily practice.
The Big Six
This strategy is a day to day one versus a long term business strategy:
- Make a list of all the things you need to do today.
- Put numbers on the top six.
- Stay on #1 until completed or it changes.
But What About the $10,000 Advice?
“Mr. Carnegie,” Taylor said, “I would advise you to make a list of the ten most important things you can do. And then, start doing number one.”
Later that night, Carnegie saw that there was a deeper truth involved. The list itself was not the benefit. The benefit came from constructing the list. To carry out Taylor’s assignment, Carnegie had to think through the “crossroad” between what was important and what was actionable. The assignment forced Carnegie to think about his more fundamental purposes for his business career and then create ways to advance them.
This caused him to allow his values to fuel his performance.
The challenge was to number in priority and then begin with #1.
What Did Carnegie Do?
A week later, the story says that Taylor received a check for ten thousand dollars.
Apparently, it worked as he later became one of the wealthiest men alive.
“The man who dies rich, dies disgraced,” he now-famously wrote.